NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for June 7, 2022

Thompson, Boozman Call on White House to Withdraw Brief in Roundup Case

Republican lawmakers want the Biden Administration to withdraw its brief before the Supreme Court in a case involving the Environmental Protection Agency’s federal registration authority of Roundup. John Boozman of Arkansas, the top Republican on the Senate Ag Committee, and Glenn GT Thompson, the top Republican on the House Ag Committee, penned the request in a letter Monday. The Republican leaders question the White House’s rationale for filing the brief based on a “change in administration” and seek answers as to why the Solicitor General modified its long-standing position that EPA maintains federal preemption authority on all crop protection tools without consulting the relevant agency subject matter experts. The lawmakers write, “Such a reversal coupled with the lack of consultation with subject matter experts is incredibly concerning.” If the Ninth Circuit’s decision is left in place, the lawmakers say growers will lose a critical tool from their toolbox, and EPA’s registration process would evolve into a state-by-state patchwork.

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Poll Finds Majority of Voters Support U.S. Aquaculture Industry

Stronger America Through Seafood announced Monday that a majority of voters support establishing a U.S. aquaculture industry to increase sustainable seafood production. A survey by the organization found that two-thirds of voters would feel more favorable towards a member of Congress who established pathways for offshore aquaculture. Among voters, 84 percent support establishing a clear, predictable pathway for U.S. aquaculture when learning many American companies build aquaculture operations abroad, and 86 percent believe it’s important to expand U.S. aquaculture when learning the U.S. imports most of its seafood. In response, Sarah Brenholt of the organization says, “Now is the time for Congress to act and put in place federal policies that would establish an aquaculture industry in U.S. federal waters.” Stronger America Through Seafood supports the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Act. The bill would direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to harmonize the permitting system for offshore aquaculture for farms in federal waters.

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Genetically Modified Corn Does Not Damage Non-Target Organisms

A new major meta-analysis has found that Bt corn does not damage non-target organisms. The results published Monday by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service found genetically modified Bt corn has little impact on non-target insects and other organisms, especially compared to growing conventional corn. Bt corn is corn that has been genetically modified so that it produces proteins to control corn borers, corn rootworms and other major pests of corn. The first Bt corn was approved in 1996, and critics have been suggesting that it also can destroy beneficial insects or other non-targeted organisms. The study gathered hundreds of individual studies published between 1997 to 2020 that have looked at whether growing Bt corn changed the environmental abundance of non-target animals. Bt corn represents a highly selective pest control technology with relatively few negative consequences for non-target invertebrates, especially when compared with the use of broad-spectrum insecticides for managing Bt-targeted pests, according to the scientists.

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USDA Announces Urban Agriculture Investments

The Department of Agriculture last week announced $43 million in grants and cooperative agreements to help deliver key USDA programs to urban producers. Specifically, USDA is investing $10.2 million in new cooperative agreements to expand compost and food waste reduction efforts and $14.2 million in new grants to support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects. Additionally, $18.7 million will fund 75 grant proposals from the 2021 application cycle, which was oversubscribed. Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Terry Cosby says, “These projects will help for urban farmers create new, more affordable, and better local market options.” USDA’s Farm Service Agency is also standing up six more urban county committees, which help deliver farm loans, disaster assistance, safety net and conservation programs. FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux adds, “These new urban county committees will work to encourage and promote urban agriculture and address areas such as food and program access, community engagement and food security.”

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FFA Members Head to Washington, D.C. to Develop Leadership Skills

For more than fifty years, FFA members from across the country converge in Washington, D.C., in the summer. After a two-year delay, the Washington Leadership Conference is back. The annual conference begins June 7(today). More than 2,000 students are registered for the 2022 Washington Leadership Conference, the second-largest student experience the National FFA Organization hosts each year. FFA members can attend the conference during one of seven weeks through July 30. They will spend the week under the guidance of professionals, counselors and FFA staff. In workshops, seminars and small groups, members will focus on identifying and developing their personal strengths and goals while undergoing comprehensive leadership training that will help them guide their local FFA chapters. The capstone of the event will be a civic engagement activity where participants apply what they have learned to a hands-on activity. Members will also analyze the needs of their communities and develop wide-ranging and high-impact community service initiatives.

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Gas Prices Spike on Tighter Supplies

The nation’s average gas price increased for the seventh straight week, surging 26.0 cents from a week ago to $4.85 per gallon. The national average is up 56.0 cents from a month ago and $1.81 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price increased 11.5 cents in the last week and stands at $5.62 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “It now appears not if, but when, we’ll hit that psychologically critical $5 national average.” Gasoline inventories continue to decline even with demand softening due to high prices, a culmination of less refining capacity and strong consumption. Nine states have average gas prices above the $5 per gallon mark, with more set to join in the days and weeks ahead. Diesel prices also stand at a record high, which pushes prices of most goods higher. With China’s economy now largely fully reopen, oil demand is likely to rise further.

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By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.